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Shoulder pain, dyspnea, sweating, vertigo. Heart problems. Can overweight cause drop in blood oxygen?

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Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 588 Questions
Is it possible for being overweight, alone, to cause blood oxygen levels to drop with minimal exertion?

My O2 sat drops from 99 at rest to 82 after walking for 1 min in dr office. I have chest/back/arm/shoulder pain at rest, severe dyspnea & sweating on minimal exertion, fatigue, memory loss & confusion, ice cold feet w purple nailbeds, vertigo while at rest. Symtoms only for the last few months. Had 3 ECGs, Echo, 24hr holter, cardiac blood panel, chest xray. Mildly leaky mitral and tricuspid valves, tachycardia, told none of this is enough to be a problem, I have very high cholesterol (227) with low HDL and high LDL and elevated triglycerides (273), elevated creatinine (1.2), but all else normal. No stress test yet. Cardiologist is suggesting symptoms, including O2 desaturation, is due to simply being overweight and out of shape. Is it possible that simply being overweight can result in blood oxygen dropping on exertion or should I keep pushing for answers? I am currently 5'2" 181lbs, which is less than I weighed before symptoms appeared. Last fall I weighed 20lbs more than this and had no such symptoms.
Posted Fri, 6 Jul 2012 in Lung and Chest disorders
Answered by Dr. Gyanshankar Mishra 8 hours later

Thanks for posting the query on XXXXXXX After going through the query, I would like to coment the following:

1. Exercise induced desaturation needs to be investigated.
2. Obesity hypoventilation syndrome is a possibility and for this daytime and night time interstitial lung disease very often not picked up by chest xray, needs to be considered and hence the investigation of HRCT scan thorax may be required.
4. A pulmonary function test for the exertional dyspnea needs to be done to rule out obstructive airway disease.

Thus I suggest you visit a pulmonologist and get yourself evaluated on the above lines.

I hope I have answered your query. I will be glad to answer follow up queries if any.
Please accept my answer if you have no follow up queries.


Dr. Gyanshankar Mishra
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